Yeah, but none of this gives trolls the right to be rude. Rudeness is one of the major markers of trolldom. I know many trolls don't think they're being rude--they think they're just instructing the ignorant and misguided. But when someone intrudes into someone else's space to state loudly and firmly that the owner is stupid, ignorant and/or misguided...that's rude. Rudeness is not excused by thinking you're right.
This is my space. I paid for it. I do not go around to other peoples' LJs or blogs to blast them for their stupidity; I do not tolerate someone coming into my space to do that to me. People are free to think I'm misguided or stupid or evil, and they're free to say so....but in their space, that they paid for, not in my space that I paid for. People here are guests in one of my online homes. Guests have an obligation to be polite. Familiar guests--those who have previously shown the ability to engage in courteous discourse--who disagree with me can certainly say so, citing their reasons, in a polite way. As long as the discussion is substantive, fact-based, and courteous. When we've exhausted the available experience of both of us, and neither has convinced the other, we can agree to disagree and go on to something else. But that's very different from the troll's approach.
A troll is the equivalent of a gate-crasher at a party who then turns on the others there and starts verbally abusing them. Trolls lack the social skills (or manners, if in other contexts they have social skills) to recognize when and where it's appropriate to spout off and the style of discourse acceptable in that venue. They're so unaware of their own rudeness that they continue on and on, past the point where any reasonable person would realize they've gotten into the wrong room at the party. The only way to shut them up is to show them the door and lock it behind them. This position comes from years of experience with them, in this and other venues. You can spend months trying to have a rational discussion with a troll, but it's a waste of time...their intent is not to understand your position but to blast you for not sharing theirs.
I won't be guilted into tolerating abuse from trolls. I won't be influenced by emotive general statements not backed up with verifiable facts. Apparently trolls think that those they disagree with have never heard their sound-bites before.
So back to the LJ rules I've posted before. Act like a troll--get tossed out. Complain about being asked to leave--get banned from commenting.
And once someone has been banished, there's to be no piling on. I dislike piling on as much on the inside as the outside. The troll's gone--ignore the troll's existence. I do not know, or want to know, or care, where else the troll posts, or what the troll posts. Let it be. Or else I'll need to start buying stock in TUMS.